Data: Fewer students perform at grade level under new testing-based reforms; Skandera says kids should ‘try harder’

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MAP MASTERFour years after Governor Martinez launched her war on teachers and set out supplanting education expertise in the classroom with state-mandated student testing and less classroom funding, data from the state’s Public Education Department says fewer students are performing at grade level than they did before Martinez/Skandera reforms.

The Albuquerque Journal headline announces “SBA test scores in NM are lower now than 5 years ago.”  But, the Journal fails to note in the story that the 5-year data trend now compares student performance in the last year before Martinez/Skandera reforms were implemented with the most recent school year under their system.

The Journal did not mention Susana Martinez anywhere.

From the Albuquerque Journal:

The percentage of students in New Mexico and in Albuquerque Public Schools scoring at or above grade level in reading and math is lower now than it was five years ago.

This past spring, slightly less than half of the students in New Mexico – 49 percent – read at grade level or better, according to Standards Based Assessment scores released recently. That’s down 4.2 percentage points since 2010, when 53.2 percent of students read at grade level.

The drop in students on grade level in math has not been as sharp – 1.5 percentage points. But fewer than half of students were scoring at grade level in math in 2010. That year, 42.2 percent of students scored at grade level in math compared to 40.7 percent this spring.


And educators and experts say those scores are set to go down next year when students will be required to take a new, more rigid test on computers.

However, those figures did not include the 25 percent of students who took the test on a computer for the first time this year, said PED spokesman Larry Behrens. He said a comparison, including those students was not available Friday, although a PED news release last week said those using a computer did not do as well as their peers…

This was the last year the SBA will be used to measure students’ proficiency in math and reading. Next spring, New Mexico students will take the new PARCC exam, designed to test knowledge of the Common Core standards. It is expected to be a more challenging test that will better gauge whether students are ready for college and the workplace. Some school officials say they’re anxious about how students will respond to the switch – not just because the test is harder, but also because it will be taken on a computer rather than the pencil-and-paper SBA.

PED Secretary-designate says she is confident children will do ether if someone just asks them to.

Skandera said students might struggle in the first year of the switch, but she said she’s confident they will respond to the tougher, computer-based test.

Skandera said it’s human nature to try harder if more is asked of you.

“We respond to higher expectations. We respond to the expectations in front of us,” she said.